July 16th, 2015

NDP demands details on Senate residency

Official Opposition Ethics Critic, Charlie Angus (Timmins – James Bay) has written to three senators to determine whether the Prime Minister’s Office verified their residency before they were appointed to the Senate.

An access to information request reveals that the Privy Council Office (PCO) has no records about whether senators Carolyn Stewart Olsen, Dennis Glen Patterson, and Senator Rod Zimmer meet the residency requirements for their Senate appointments. All three have faced questions about whether they were truly residents of the provinces they were appointed to represent.

Senate Law Clerk Mark Audcent recently testified that it is the responsibility of the Prime Minister’s Office and the PCO to ensure that individuals appointed by the Prime Minister meet the constitutional residency requirements for their appointments.

In May 2015, Mr. Angus wrote to the Governor General asking for details on Senate residency requirements, but the Governor General responded that senators’ residency wasn’t his responsibility.

“Surely somebody did a background check on these senators before they were appointed and can explain who in the Prime Minister's office vetted their residency eligibility before they were appointed to the Senate,” said Mr. Angus. “Canadians have a right to know if the Conservatives and Liberals took any steps at all to verify where these people lived before they started their taxpayer-funded appointments.”